Even if your nonprofit holds a Fund-A-Need every year, I bet your leaving something on the table.
I’m talking about getting the entire room to participate in a way that benefits your nonprofit, and not just financially.
Let’s talk about some ways your nonprofit can encourage supporters to help out and get the entire room energized and excited to give.
Call to Action
At the conclusion of the Fund-A-Need I sometimes ask all attendees to take an action in addition to, or instead of, giving.
Recently, I worked an auction during which the organization encouraged everyone in attendance to text their congressperson and urge them to vote no on an issue important to the work of the organization. At the end of the Fund-A-Need everyone who wanted to participate held up their phones. It was wonderful to see so much enthusiastic engagement.
I have also asked for people to commit to donating food once per month for a year, they signaled their commitment by raising their paddle at the close of the final giving level.
You can ask for planned giving commitments. Attendees raise their paddles if they are interested in talking to a development professional about what it would take to leave money in their estate for this purpose.
I have also worked with organizations who ask for parties interested in stock transfers when the market is doing particularly well.
I encourage you to think about what actions you’d like your supporters to take, in addition to giving financial support. Would it be most helpful if they volunteer their time? Foster an animal? Donate food or other items?
Determine what you need and then ask for it at the conclusion of every Fund-A-Need you do. I think you’ll be surprised at the response you receive.
Energizing the Room
The success of a Fund-A-Need auction hinges on the excitement and energy level in the room. There are two things I do at every Fund-A-Need that help keep the excitement and energy levels high to promote maximum giving.
- When running a Fund-A-Need I always start high and finish low. In other words, I begin with a high gift level, let’s say $10,000, and work my way down to $100. This ensures that every single guest at your event will find a giving level that is comfortable for them.
- As soon as the Fund-A-Need is over, I take the time to thank everyone from the stage, and your auctioneer should too! Thank them for their generosity and for caring about the work your organization does. Thanking your donors is a crucial part of maintaining that donor relationship. You really can’t thank people enough.
Keeping the energy high and your attendees engaged is crucial to Fund-A-Need success. Create an auction that allows everyone, regardless of giving capacity, to participate. Asking your supporters to take simple actions in support of your nonprofit’s mission will increase engagement and participation at your events.